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Local News

  • LAPD arrests 2 on theft charges

    The Los Alamos Police Department Criminal Investigations and patrol divisions have investigated several check fraud, identity theft, theft, forgery, fraudulent use of credit card cases over the past month.
    LAPD investigators began putting together a profile that all the cases were linked and identified the potential suspects through their investigations.
    On Aug. 27, a patrol “A-team” apprehended the suspects on a traffic stop.
    John J. Lerma, 42, of Albuquerque and 38-year-old Rosalinda Hurtado of Alcalde were arrested by officers for charges of forgery, fraud and identity theft. Lerma also had a nationwide warrant out of Bernalillo County.
    There have been at least eight reported criminal cases investigated by the LAPD totaling in almost $20,000 in losses, according to police.
    Hurtado and Lerma are also suspected and being charged with stealing wallets from local Los Alamos athletes during sporting practices then fraudulently using the stolen credit cards.

  • Gov. Martinez lends support to Stover’s campaign

    Gov. Susana Martinez visited White Rock Sunday to support Los Alamos County Clerk Sharon Stover, the Republican candidate in the New Mexico House District 43 representative race.
    Stover introduced Martinez by thanking her for her help during the Las Conchas fire, when Stover was chair of the county council. That was when the two first met.
    “And I have to tell you that you were there with us at all of the town halls in White Rock. You were at all the press conferences. You gave me advice. You made sure that all the resource our state needed were there in real time,” Stover said. “And what I took away from that, and I’ve seen it in almost eight years for this term in the county, is your compassion when it comes to crises in our state, and your leadership.”
    Stover also thanked Martinez for her support of Los Alamos National Laboratory and the cleanup efforts there, as for supporting the New Mexico’s Juvenile Justice Advisory Commission (JJAC) intervention and prevention programs. Stover serves as chair of that committee.
    “And from now on, we have seen a decrease of juveniles going into our detention centers,” Stover said.

  • Valerie Plame stumps for Garcia Richard

    Valerie Plame Wilson made an appearance in Los Alamos last Thursday to stump for Democratic Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, who is seeking her third term as New Mexico House District 43 representative.
    Plame is a former covert CIA operations officer who was forced to retire after her identity was revealed by the George W. Bush administration in 2003. She and her husband, former ambassador Joe Wilson, moved to New Mexico in 2007.
    “I’m speaking to you this evening as a neighbor, down the road a bit. We came to New Mexico in 2007, and we came here for all the reasons you know. It’s just stunningly beautiful,” Plame said. “But as we got settled in, we saw that there were things that needed to be done, once you take off the rose-colored glasses. So Joe and I have thrown ourselves into helping our community, and doing things that we can do, whether it’s early childhood education or getting behind candidates that we can believe in.”
    Plame spoke about her “very steep and sudden political education” after her identity was exposed.

  • ‘Toppers celebrate Homecoming
  • LANB’s parent company enters into stock purchasing agreement

    Trinity Capital, the parent company of Los Alamos National Bank, has entered into a stock purchasing agreement with three private equity firms.
    Patriot Financial Partners, Strategic Value Bank Partners and Castle Creek Financial Partners will be acquiring a minority stake in LANB through a $52 million recapitalization plan.
    President and Chief Executive Officer John Gulas of Trinity Capital and LANB, said the transaction was a good sign for the bank, which is still recovering from the 2008 recession and an ugly episode of financial mismanagement that occurred several years ago.
    “We are encouraged that our new investors have confidence in our turnaround efforts,” Gulas said. “We believe this new capital enables us to address the most difficult remaining challenge in restoring the company to a safe and sound condition.”
    When the recapitalization deal is finalized in October, two of the companies, Castle Creek Capital and Patriot Financial, will have one representative each appointed to LANB’s board.
    Within a year of all parties signing off on the deal, Trinity Capital will also be able to offer current shareholders up to $10 million in stock.
    Once the deal is done, the bank will round a corner by putting a rocky decade of alleged fraudulent assets reporting and recession debt behind it.

  • DOE: $4 billion, 20 years to clean up legacy waste

    Representatives from the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities scored a victory in Washington, D.C. last week when they came away with an official cost and time estimate of what it will take to clean up all the waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    The group lobbied the Department of Energy to create a document called a “Lifecycle Cost Estimate.” The DOE estimates that it’s going to take about $4 billion and 20 years, if Los Alamos receives the annual funding recommended in the report. DOE officials made clear the document is meant only as a guideline
    The document covers 955 sites from the Manhattan Project and the Cold War eras. About 5,000 cubic meters of legacy waste remain. About half of that is stored below ground.
    Coalition representative and Los Alamos County Councilor Kristin Henderson said the report will make all the difference in keeping the cleanup organized, properly funded and on time.
    “Every DOE site has a lifecycle baseline, and for a long time, Los Alamos didn’t,” Henderson said. “What that meant is, we didn’t have a published understanding of all the things that needed to be cleaned up, what kind of level they were going to be cleaned up to, how much it’s going to cost and how many years it’s going to take.”

  • Today in history Sept. 20
  • 21 US states sue to block expansion of overtime pay law

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — A coalition of 21 states sued the U.S. Department of Labor Tuesday over a new rule that would make about 4 million higher-earning workers eligible for overtime pay, slamming the measure as inappropriate federal overreach from the Obama Administration.

    Republican Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas, urging it to block implementation before the regulation takes effect on Dec. 1. Laxalt, a frequent critic of President Barack Obama's policies, said the rule would burden private and public sectors by straining budgets and forcing layoffs or cuts in working hours.

    "This rule, pushed by distant bureaucrats in D.C., tramples on state and local government budgets, forcing states to shift money from other important programs to balance their budgets, including programs intended to protect the very families that purportedly benefit from such federal overreach," he said in a statement.

    Labor Department officials did not immediately respond to telephone and emailed requests seeking comment.

    The measure would shrink the so-called "white collar exemption" that exempts workers who perform "executive, administrative or professional" duties from overtime and minimum wage requirements.

  • Today in history Sept. 19
  • Jemez Mountains fire contained

    A fire that started in the Jemez Mountains Sept. 8 was put out Monday night, fire officials said.

    The fire burned about 329 acres. The fire was located in Bear Springs Canyon, south of Forest Road 266. No structures were damaged or injuries reported. Due to precipitation in the area, the U.S. Forest Service decided to manage the fire to burn off extra fuel, rather than put it out right away.

    That changed recently when the area began to dry out.

    “We’ve gotten a lot of moisture and precipitation, and it was pretty dormant for quite a while,” said U.S. Forest Service Assistant Public Affairs Officer Clifton L. Russell “It wasn’t until last week it started to dry out and that’s what started causing a lot of smoke.”

    Using a burn scar to the north from the Las Conchas Fire, firefighters used that and an old logging road to hem the fire in and put it out.

    “We saw a very good opportunity to take advantage of the fire,” Russell said. “We were going to go for a bigger area, but it started to dry out over the weekend so they decided to go for total suppression.”